In the days leading up to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s bombshell announcement of $2.3 billion in trading losses, chairman and chief executive officer Jamie Dimon faced a delicate predicament. His executives had scheduled visits with banking analysts to discuss the state of affairs at JPMorgan—the company whose stock Mr. Dimon knew was sure to plummet when news of the trading losses were disclosed. These weren’t just any trading losses, of course; they were losses incurred on credit derivatives bets placed by a mysterious trader nicknamed the London Whale and Voldemort by the financial press. And it wasn’t just any bet—it was the same trading position that Mr. Dimon had described as “a complete tempest in a teapot” not one month previous.
“On the inside, Dimon must have been trying to figure out what was happening with the trade, and what to do about it,” said Frank Partnoy, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, currently a law professor at the University of San Diego. “It’s like he has an inside personality, and an outside personality that he shows the world, and the two things must have been in conflict, like what politicians deal with when they’re handling a crisis.”
Just as fellow enormous bank JPMorgan Chase did last week, Citigroup reported solid third-quarter earnings today. And like JPMorgan Chase, the bank suffered from slight weakness on the revenue side and bolstered profit by reducing the amount of cash it set aside to protect against losses on its loan portfolio.
The company’s bottom line Read More
Elizabeth Warren said in a speech yesterday that stepped-up bank regulation she’s helping implement will be good for banks and consumers alike. Warren, Barack Obama’s designated advisor to the development of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said that many Americans view banks with extreme suspicion, and that increased transparency will remedy banks’ image. Read More
As the idea of a slowdown for Wall Street’s big players crystalizes, Bank of America is gearing up to lay some people off, according to a report by Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino.
The cuts are neither very deep nor very wide, according to the report; 5 percent of workers in the company’s Read More
Great news: The job market is flourishing — for bankers whose job includes telling companies how to lay people off! Investment banks are getting ready to do some major mergers and acquisitions in the coming year, and as a result are hiring like the dickens, The New York Times reports.
To hear former Labor Read More
Fun With Liquidity
Last last year, The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a boring-sounding but enormously influential group of regulators from 27 nations, published what might have been the single most important document in finance.
Nicknamed Basel III, it proposed a much more rigorous set of guidelines for leverage at global banks. “Provided it is not watered down, Read More
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” begins Pride and Prejudice. But in a city of so many good-fortuned men, their potential wives must operate with discrimination! Luckily, news blog Here Is the City has assembled a Read More
In the basement of a Brooklyn brownstone, in between rooms taken up by a homemade video synthesizer and a worm garden, two 31-year-olds have spent the year building the next great American bank. It won’t have tellers, TV ads with handsome couples, well-lit branches, a trading division or even fees, except for the odd international wire Read More